Is high testosterone an advantage in sport?

13 July 2008

Question

Are there just some people who have above-average levels of testosterone and that’s what gives them the advantage?

Answer

We put this question to Professor Chris Cooper:

There are certainly some people who've claimed that. I'm reminded of this great true story about one of the Olympic 100m sprinters who failed the test John talked about - too much testosterone. In his defence he said it was his wife's birthday so he had to have sex five times the night before and that's why his testosterone was so high. He got off!

Chris Smith - In more ways than one!

Chris Cooper - Yes, anyway, yes! Chris Smith - Is that true?

Chris Cooper - The story is true. I think testosterone can vary depending on whether you're having sex or not. Not by the amount he claims. I don't think you can use it as a performance enhancing effect. It might not be a good idea the night before a race.

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